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Cicada Waves Screening with Ben Seretan
August 25 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm CEST
Cicada Waves (NNA Tapes, 2021) is a startling record in that, throughout its 47 minutes, we never hear anything else besides some footsteps, a piano quietly ringing out, and the remarkably varied sonic landscapes encountered in a dance studio in the woods one summer. It’s rich and evocative, but there is truly no other content contained therein.
It makes sense, then, that Ben Seretan – the piano player in the woods – incorporated two ways of inflating these recordings, of adding grist to the mill. First, there are accompanying essays for each track – pieces of writing that examine the colonial history of the land whose sound has been captured and commodified or looks deeply at the weird wood marvel that is a baby grand piano. And there are corresponding videos for each track with images of piano keys dancing like spectres on the horizon, digital woods, flowers, bugs, stop animation, and a shirtless hula in a snowstorm.
This event will gather and screen the entire visual album for an audience for the first time ever, a stark contrast to the Internet-only release and deep isolation of its creation. These videos – in combination with the spare, lovely recordings – are transportative, nearly hypnagogic, and at times quite funny. Join us as we “throw open the windows and let the world in.”
Ben Seretan is a musician and writer from Troy, New York who is working hard. In 2018, he released a 24-hour-long album of guitar clouds called My Life’s Work. In 2020 came Youth Pastoral, a lightly dance-music-influenced collection of cathartic full band jammers about breaking up with God (named one of the best albums of the year by Pitchfork). This year – emerging from the Internet as if from a 17-year burrow in the woods – Seretan whipped up Cicada Waves, a visual album of piano recordings from the riotous and cacophonous woods of north Georgia where, more often than not, the piano isn’t played. And every Thursday he sends a new track and a 1,000 word piece of writing via My Big Break, a hard-to-describe email newsletter.
Featuring work by visual artist Bahareh Khoshooee: baharehkhoshooee.com
And footage by documentarians Hal and Henry Jacobs: www.hjacobscreative.com